The Méhari Out-Climbs a Land Rover

We were sitting in the SCM Citroën Méhari, watching a Land Rover Discovery make several attempts to climb a wet, grassy hill. The Rover would get halfway up, its wheels would lose traction and back down it would come.

“Watch this!” said Bill Lonseth, caretaker of the Méhari. He revved up the mighty 600-cc twin-cylinder, air-cooled engine, and we attacked the hill — and cruised right up and over, to the applause of those watching.

This was the 2015 Read More

Winter and the SCM Fleet

Our unseasonably long, hot summer is finally coming to an end. The temperatures today are in the 60s with overcast skies and a light drizzle. While this would be considered summer weather in my native San Francisco, here in Portland it’s time to start prepping for winter.

I’ve begun shuffling the SCM fleet around, in some instances to take care of deferred maintenance after a summer of use, and in others to make major improvements.

Also, as I am still Read More

The Viper and the Alfa – Two Different Types of Snakes

As I’m still recovering from rotator-cuff surgery, I’ve become a passenger in the cars in the SCM collection.

This weekend I rode in two of them: the 1958 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce and the 2000 Dodge Viper GTS ACR.

Aside from the snakes they each have in their logos, they have little in common – except that they each offer a distinct approach to motoring.

The Alfa was pressed into service as a frontispiece for the Oregon Ballet Theater’s Read More

The Best First Sports Car

This is a question that comes up all the time. Sometimes I’m asked, “What’s the best first Alfa Romeo or Ferrari?” Other times it is just, “I’m thinking of getting into vintage sports cars. Which one would I have the most fun with?”

There are many layers to these types of questions.

My first answer is always, “Buy the best example you can afford.”

Most people buying their first sports cars today are looking for a driving experience — not Read More

Bidding and Touring With One Good Arm

Mitch Silver was ready for me last Saturday at the Portland Expo Center. I asked if I could have a left-arm bidder’s paddle, and he said yes. Tuesday I’d had rotator-cuff surgery, and my right arm was in a sling. That wasn’t going to stop me from seeing if the collector car of my dreams was waiting for me at Mitch’s auction.

I’ve always enjoyed going to Silver’s auctions. There’s something there for every budget and taste, from Read More

Two Alfas in the Shop, Four in the Garage – SCM Fleet Update

Fall is here. It’s time to start shuffling the SCM cars around, putting the convertibles away for the winter and making sure the coupes and sedans are ready to go.

Here’s a quick look at the status of the cars in the SCM fleet:

The 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider Veloce (pictured above) went to Bill Gillham’s for minor rocker repair. That has turned into major surgery, as there was rust lurking that needed to be addressed. Also, Gillham is replacing the trunk Read More

Hitting Its Stride – The 2015 Pacific Northwest Concours

There’s something magical that happens when a performance comes together. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a brilliant performance of the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth, a breath-taking rendition of Puccini’s “Un bel di, vedremo” from “Madame Butterfly” or an explosive presentation of “Rocka My Soul” from Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations.”

With an automotive event, the magic occurs when the setting, the cars and their owners, and the overall theme of the day come together.

That happened this past weekend at the 13th Read More

Horses and Horsepower — the 2nd Annual Chantilly Concours

Jousting. That was a first for me. I’ve seen many things at car events, but never armed knights charging toward one another horseback. Losing a joust might entail being dumped from your horse, summersaulting mid-air and landing hard on the ground.

Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille co-founder Patrick Peter has now found a way to combine his three life passions — cars, sailing and horses — into a single event.

On Sunday, September 6 at the Chantilly Chateau, about 35 miles North of Read More

Just the Amazon and Me

Last Saturday I did something I haven’t done in quite a while — I took a little road trip by myself.

It’s been a typically hectic few months. I’ve attended car events in Italy, Colorado, California, Oregon and Washington, but I haven’t had any “alone time” with my cars.

The 1967 Volvo 122S “Amazon” continues to be one of my favorites. It’s not as fast as a Porsche or as raw as an Alfa, but between its charming appearance and Read More

A Weekend With The Gunnison Car Club

Once a year The Gunnison Car Club, under the able direction of Mike Callihan, takes over downtown Gunnison, Colorado, filling the streets with street rods, muscle cars, sports cars and pickups. This year the club selected me to receive The Lee Iacocca Award.

Gunnison is 224 miles from the Denver International Airport — and 1,138 miles from The Lodge at Pebble Beach, where I was the previous weekend. On Saturday, instead of ogling Ferrari Enzos, Delahaye 135Ms and Hemi Read More